Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

The Question We're Never Asked

It's my custom to take a break from blogging during the summer, so this is my last post until September. See you then!

But before I go...

I've touched on a lot of “heavy” issues this past year, so I'd like to leave you with something not so heavy. 

It's amazing how often my wife and I are asked: "What do you and Kathy do with your time, when you're not working on Worldview Matters stuff?" 

I say it's amazing how often we're asked this question, because no one ever asks it!  

So let me answer the question we're never asked: We have an operation going on in our basement that requires grow lights, daily watering, and frequent harvests.  

You might say it's a "high" point of our day.

Yes, it's legal in Washington State! 

This basement operation allows us to put our biblical worldview, and our theology of work, into practice, in meaningful and productive ways.

For more about the operation, click here

For additional reading, and to underscore all of the above, I recommend this short piece by Bob Robinson: Made in God's Image Provides Us Our Job Description.

Onward and upward.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A Chilling 21st Century Icon

21 Christians beheaded by Muslim Jihadists on a beach in 2015. 
7 of them were Mama Maggie's "boys."

At the Colson Center’s Wilberforce Award ceremony last weekend, Maggie Gobran, a Coptic Christian known as “Mama Maggie,” and 
“the Mother Theresa of Cairo,” was honored.

Among the many blessings Mama Maggie has brought to thousands of poor children in Egypt, is the establishment of 100 schools. Yes, 100! 

John Stonestreet, President of the Colson Center, pointed out: “You might remember those 21 Coptic Christians that were beheaded by ISIS terrorists on that beach back in 2015. Each one refused to renounce their faith. At least seven of those martyrs attended Mama Maggie’s schools.”

Do you recall the photo of those 21 men on the beach, each with their killer standing behind in black? The photo is a chilling 21st century icon. 

It's especially iconic when you know the backstory.   

Upon hearing of Maggie Gobran’s connection with 7 of these men, I did a bit of research and came across a 2015 article that filled in some blanks:

Five of them she knew by name.

...the diminutive Mama Maggie said that when those young men were children growing up in her schools, she ate with them and prayed with them.

"Yes,” she said, “they are my boys."

The men were in Libya, looking for work to support their families in Egypt, when they were captured. As they faced death, they were said to have called on the name of Jesus. Mama Maggie explained how these simple men had such faith.

"From Him, firstly, because they experienced a real touch of love."

Then she pointed out the stark contrast between those who were killed and those who did the killing — and how their demeanors spoke volumes about what they believe.

“If you look at the picture you find the one who is trying to kill is covering his face,” Mama Maggie said. “He's afraid to face the world with who he is. And [the 21 Copts] have their identity, their self-respect and self-esteem clear. And they are looking up knowing they are going to live forever. I think it's a huge difference."

A huge difference indeed, Mama! This is due, in part, to your tireless efforts to establish 100 schools in Egypt that lift up the name of Jesus. A huge difference, too, because of the personal love you gave them.

Thank you, Mama Maggie. Your boys wrote an iconic message on the beach that day that won't be washed away.   

The world needs more Maggie Gobrans and "her" kind of boys and girls. If you want to start a Christian school, or you've started one and want to make it a better one, or you teach at a Christian school and you what to be a better teacher, by all means attend the Biblical Worldview Training Boot Camp hosted by Renewanation on July 29-30, either via simulcast or at the Manderley Christian Camp and Conference Center in Pikeville, TN, or on August 1-2 at the Manderley Center only. 

If ever there was a need for quality Christian education, quality Christian educators, and quality Christian students, it is today. 

HEADS UP: A 10% discount for the simulcast ends today. 

For details and registration, click here.

I'll see you there--or via the simulcast!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fill It And Farm It

Have you signed on to your role on planet Earth?

Last week I quoted Jeremiah 29:4-7 in reference to the notion that the Church in the United States has been deported to Babylon. God told the Israelites in Babylon to reproduce, and be productive. Bear children. Plant gardens. Eat its fruit. Prosper.

Did you notice how similar Jeremiah 29:4-7 is to Genesis 1:26-28?

In Genesis 1:26-28, God told the first humans to “be fruitful and multiply.” And He went on to give us a task. An assignment. A mission. A charge.

Specifically, God told us to “have dominion over” planet Earth. To “rule” over it. To “replenish the earth, and subdue it.” This is our role. This is God’s purpose for us.   

The “First Commission” of Genesis 1:26-28 was not rescinded at the Fall. The Fall makes our role more difficult. But the assignment remains, even as it did for Israelites in Babylon.

In my writing, I keep coming back to one fundamental question: What is the role of human beings on planet Earth?

The reason I keep coming back to this fundamental question is because the answer to this question provides a fundamental purpose for education, a fundamental purpose for work, a fundamental purpose for rearing children, a fundamental purpose for civil government, a fundamental purpose for living.

The Westminster Confession answers the question, “What is the chief aim of man” this way: “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Very good. But this does not tell me what my role is. It does not tell me what my purpose is on planet Earth. It tells me a by-product of fulfilling my role well, but it does not tell me what my role is.  
What role did God specifically have in mind for humans to fill on planet Earth?

The answer is so simple it eludes us: fill it and farm it.

Psalm 8:3-6 says: “…what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet…” (NIV)

Psalm 115:16 puts it this way: “The heaven of heavens is for God, but he put us in charge of the earth.” (The Message)

We have a role. We have a charge.

Let's fulfill it, shall we?

Friday, May 10, 2019

I Was Born In Jerusalem, Deported To Babylon

An engraving with a royal inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II. 
(Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1311723)

As our nation continues to slide from a post-Christian nation to an anti-Christian nation, I cannot help but feel I was born in Jerusalem, deported to Babylon.  

I can remember when stores were regularly closed on Sunday, and the Bible was read in public schools. Abortion was not only illegal, but unthinkable. Now we’re legalizing infanticide. Homosexuality was hidden. Today it has moved past normalization to proliferation. Tired of being a boy? Be a girl. 

In this hour, it is good to revisit God’s message (in Jeremiah 29) to “people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” Verse 4 reveals that God was behind it: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” It was God’s discipline, for God's reasons.  

So, what do we do in our Babylon? Sit in despair under a juniper tree and weep?

Here’s what the Lord told the Israelites:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Be productive? Work? Bless the pagan city?

I appreciate Jodi Hasbrouck’s comments on verse 11, which is usually quoted apart from its context: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“

Hasbrouck writes: “In the midst of your suffering, cling to Jeremiah 29:11, but cling to it for the right reason: not in the false hope that God will take away your suffering, but in the true, gospel confidence that he will give you hope in the midst of it.”

“Sometimes,” Jodi says, “trials are of our own doing; sometimes they’re the work of Satan; sometimes they’re just an effect of living in a broken world. Regardless of the source, they're always an opportunity to know God better.”

And an opportunity to bless a pagan nation. As Daniel did, working in a civil service job.    

Friday, May 3, 2019

Admit The Bible Got It Wrong And Move On?

When it comes to same-sex marriage and the LGBTQ agenda, why shouldn't Christians just admit the Bible got it wrong and move on?

A recent article in USA Today suggested just that. Christians, the writer declared, are not misinterpreting the Bible in the area of sexual dos and don'ts, but the Bible simply got it wrong when it comes to homosexual behavior. We know better now.

Does being a faithful Christian mean we have to accept that everything the Bible said was "wrong" thousands of years ago is still "wrong" today? Could taking such a position be one reason why so many young people are leaving the church? If so, should the church keep on hemorrhaging regardless?

Albert Mohler responded to the USA Today article, and I'm turning my blog over to him today because he said it better than I ever could: click here.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Human Composting

According to a Washington State senator, people from all over my state are excited about the prospect of becoming trees.

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Sir William Gladstone, four-term Prime Minister of Great Britain in the late 1800s, said:

"Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals." 

Gladstone's observation came to mind when I heard about a bill in my state which, if signed into law on May 1, will make Washington State the first to allow human composting.

What does this mean? It means human remains can be used to fertilize household gardens.  

The "organic reduction" Bill 5001 passed with bipartisan support.

A state Senator, Jamie Pedersen, told NBC News: “People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves.”

No doubt many view this as a step forward. But I see it as a step backward. 

I see it as another indicator of our steady rejection of those "high ideals" Gladstone had in mind: Judeo-Christian ideals rooted in a biblical worldview.   

This process of rejection began when Descartes birthed the Age of "Reason above Revelation," which eventually squeezed authentic Christianity out of Europe. The process is now finding its stride in popular America. 

The difference between our current hour and those leading up to it, is that until now, the rejection of Judeo-Christian "high ideals" in American society did not have wide, cross-parties, cross-class, cross-education support. But today it does. 

The Judeo-Christian "high ideals" which once provided a common rudder for Americans and Brits alike, no longer directs our ship.  

When it comes to human burial, I see no need for fancy caskets, or cosmetic display. I see no problem with immediate burial, and no embalming. That's legal, too. But this is a far cry from composting the garden with Mom's remains. 

Gladstone is also famous for saying, "Justice delayed is justice denied," and, "Nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right."

Give us more Gladstones! 

Better yet, give us a generation who will re-plant the ideals of a biblical worldview in the soil of American society once again, and bury the pagan ideals of Naturalism, which are dear to most of our current legislators.

If there ever was a time for authentic Christian re-education, it's now. We're moving backwards with breathtaking speed. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Pushing Back

Outside the Washington State capitol in Olympia, on April 1 (no fooling) approximately 2,000 Christians protested a "comprehensive sex-ed" bill. They went inside and lobbied. They protested. They prayed. 

Two days later, on April 3, the deadline passed without the House Education Committee bringing SB 5395 forward for a vote, and the bill died in committee. 

A friend of mine, who is the headmaster of a Christian school, informed me that some parents at his school “don't find the LGBTQ+ agenda to be that offensive.” Some people tell him: "Why is the sin of homosexuality treated as so much more offensive than other sins?  Someone is gay. Another is a drunkard. Sin is sin.”

But what if esteemed teachers were telling impressionable children that getting drunk is normal, and they should be proud to do so someday? Would that be a problem?

It’s one thing to say “one sin is just as much sin as another” (by the way, the consequences are not all equal), but when children are taught that some sins are not sins, and they should accept certain sins as normal and good, we have a problem.

For a short course on what the LGBTQ+ agenda is about, click here, and here.

Some parents are pushing back.  

Consider the recent push-back from Christians regarding a “comprehensive sex-ed” bill in the State of Washington:

On February 26, over 100 people expressed outrage about this bill at a school board meeting. The outrage was so intense that after the meeting the senator who was sponsoring the sex ed bill, and also a member of that particular school board, resigned from her school board position.  

On March 23, nearly 1,000 people from local churches and family groups came to a town hall meeting where the bill’s sponsor and two other legislators were present. At the meeting, the legislators refused to talk about the sex ed bill until a pastor (yes, a pastor) yelled, "You know what we are here for!" and the crowd started chanting! This led to 45 minutes of public comments, and many were neither meek nor mild.

A phone call campaign was organized that put real heat on the House Education Committee members.

On April 1, approximately 2,000 Christians gathered on the steps of the capital to pray, protest and lobby. 

On April 3, the sex ed bill died in committee. 

For the full story, and the group that organized this strategic push-back, click here.

The ruling secularists are not accustomed to having Christians push back. Nor are Christians used to pushing back. But the water has come to a boil, and some are fed up enough to get off their…

For what’s happening in California, click here.

A father pushing back at the City of Federal Way public school board meeting on February 26, 2019. 

While such push-back can never "fix" the root problem of a single tax-supported school system committed to Secularism (I wish such fervor was demonstrated against that, and I wish more pastors would shout about the problem of parents sending their children to schools that perpetuate dualism), this kind of push-back from parents sends an important message to legislators in the meantime. A message that will have to be repeated next year, and the next...until the tax laws are changed.

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